Glimpses of Israel - Mt Zion

by Joy Hunting

"On the sides of the north" is of course not the important feature of Mount Zion, though it does give us the approximate location of the Holy Mount in relation to the remainder of Jerusalem. The words themselves occur in Psalm 48 and are introduced with : "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in his holy mountain."

The commencement of Psalm 48 has an important message to convey, and that is how great, how magnificent Mount Zion is, because it is "Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth … on the sides of the north, the city of the great King" , even the Lord. And it could just as accurately be rendered: " ... the joy of the whole land ..." which in this year of its 3000th anniversary as King David's capital it certainly is.

The whole city has undergone a transformation during the years it has been administered by Israel since the Six Day War of 1967. The debris and filth, the barbed wire and obstacles left behind by the former occupiers have been removed; the walls have been cleared and repaired and floodlit; the surrounds have been landscaped and beautified with stonework and paths and gardens.

Archaeologists have uncovered long buried and long forgotten areas of the old city, and it is possible to walk underground through houses once occupied by Jerusalem's elite. They have restored the Cardo, a Roman thoroughfare that ran through the centre of the city, and have excavated a section of the ancient wall that existed when the Assyrian Rabshakeh taunted the people of Jerusalem in Hezekiah's day.

In the Jewish Quarter are actual homes beneath the present surface of the city -- homes with their stone furntiture, mosaics and wall paintings -- evidence of elegance and a gracious life-style from the past. The Burnt House too, which was the charred home of a priest, has also been excavated and can be visited by us in the twentieth century.

We are fast approaching the day when "God will establish it for ever" , this Mount Zion, His city, "the city of the great King. According to your name, O God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth; your right hand is full of righteousness. LET MOUNT ZION REJOICE" (Psalm 48:10, 11).